The thing about David Sedaris is that you either find him funny or you don't -- that's it. I find him generally pretty amusing, albeit in small doses, and that's more or less my reaction to the book. It's a collection of sixteen brief stories featuring animals standing in for humans, a number of which have previously appeared on public radio programs. Caricaturists and cartoonists figured out well over a century ago that if you depict human behavior acted out by animals, it lends what are otherwise straightforward insights a veneer of the ridiculous, humorous, and can even turn into fable. Sedaris isn't really doing anything new or particularly exciting by having barnyard animals engage in Secret Santa, or squirrels and chipmunks date, or various animals standing in line argue about something banal. He's just doing it with his stylistic twist, which I generally enjoy. (Those of a sunny disposition should be forewarned that most of the stories (and illustrations) wind up in somewhat dark and depressing areas -- only a handful have what might be interpreted as a "happy ending".) It needs to be said that the stories read much better if you spread them out, reading one every few days or so, rather than back to back in one sitting. When read back to back, they lose their freshness and sharpness. Although I generally enjoyed the writing, by the end I was feeling that the gimmick was a little too played out, that Sedaris could write thousands of these kind of sketches. And speaking of sketches, each story is accompanied by a color illustration by Ian Falconer, an artist who made his fortune with the popular Olivia series of children's picture books. Here he gets to take his usual animal forms and get grotesque with them. Personally, they didn't add anything to the book for me and felt like another layer of gimmickry on top of the already gimmicky stories.